Tuesday, 20 September 2016
This scene makes me smile every time I step out onto the patio. A couple of the spare trial garlic cloves I planted for green garlic developed a scape, then from these little miniature garlic cloves called bulbils formed.
Now these have started to sprout and they look like they're having a bad hair day. I love them for it. I'm not sure which of the varieties they're from as I planted the spares in a random fashion in their pots.
I suspect the humid weather over the past few weeks has encouraged the bulbils to sprout and their obvious viability means I'm having a go at bulking them up into garlic suitable for cropping. Bulbils are usually dried and stored much earlier in the year, but seeing we're close to autumn garlic planting time, I see no harm in a little experimentation right now.
Usually I'd save some of my garlic from my main crop for next year, but even the resistant varieties eventually succumbed to rust* up at the plot. Therefore it'll be better if I start afresh next year instead of using saved cloves. The bulbils take about 3 years to bulk up and should be clear of the disease**, so I'll buy some new-to-me varieties to try until they're ready.
I've planted them into a couple of large pots of Dalefoot*** wool compost for vegetable and salads, which I've trialled this year with good results. I've left them in a quiet corner of the garden where I can keep an eye on their development over the coming years.
I'll let you know how I get on.
* = though not as badly as the non-rust resistant varieties my allotment neighbour grew
** = propagation from bulbils is a good way of providing disease-free garlic, or revitalising a strain
*** = I received some free bags to evaluate, courtesy of Dalefoot. Spent compost mixed 50:50 with their Double Strength option also works well and is more economical too.